The Ministry of Steel Development has emphasised the importance of the safety of operations in the steel sector, in order to conserve lives and resources at mining operation sites.
Speaking at a workshop initiated by the metallurgical inspectorate & raw materials development (MI&RMD) department of the ministry said its emphasis was part of proactive efforts to promote safety awareness and compliance with safety guidelines within the metal sector in a proactive move to safeguard workers in the iron and steel industry from workplace hazards and reduce work-related injuries, diseases and ill health.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Steel Development/Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Mary Ogbe, who officially opened the workshop in Abuja, highlighted the significance of the event as the first in a series of engagements with industry operators since the creation of the Ministry of Steel Development.
The workshop focuses on fostering safety awareness and adherence to safety guidelines in Nigeria’s metal sector, aligning with the ministry’s mandate to ensure optimum safety and zero harm in the metals industry.
Represented by the director of human resources management, Mohammed Suleiman Kabir, Ogbe emphasised the crucial role of safety in the steel and metal industry for national industrialization and development. She stressed that achieving the sector’s vast potential requires a commitment to safety and good health among workers. Ogbe urged participants to prioritize the principle of “Safety First, Safety Always,” recognising safety as an essential aspect of daily life in workplaces, schools, and homes.
The principle of “Safety First, Safety Always” aims to prevent accidents by promoting safe work practices and procedures. Ogbe highlighted the broader consequences of accidents and injuries, emphasising their potential to harm individuals, disrupt business operations, incur financial losses, and affect families.
Ogbe revealed the ministry’s aim and commitment to achieving zero accidents, zero near misses, zero first aid incidents, zero hazards, zero unsafe acts, zero unsafe conditions, and ultimately zero harm. She stressed that this goal is not merely an ambitious aspiration but a necessary and achievable objective for every organisation. Ogbe urged industry operators to prioritise safety measures to ensure that every worker returns home safely every day.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Ibrahim Yusufu Idris represented by the deputy director of the environmental assessment department, Shittu Hussain, expressed gratitude for the workshop. He emphasised the Ministry of Environment’s mandate to protect the Nigerian environment by ensuring that operations are conducted with regard to environmental protection. He encouraged operators to prioritize safe practices in the steel sector for the benefit of both workers and the environment.
In his remarks, the DG/CEO of the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, Kaduna, Kolawole Ogunbiyi lauded the timing of the workshop, aligning with the Federal Government’s plan to revamp the steel sector. He considered the workshop timely and a welcome development.
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Otunba Francis Meshioye represented by Lekan Edunjobi, commended the workshop’s theme, highlighting the importance of prioritising the health and safety of the workforce to prevent hazards.
The director of the metallurgical inspectorate and raw materials development (MI&RMD) department, Engr. Frederick Ewa emphasised the necessity of safe working procedures to achieve the presidential mandate in the steel sector. He called on employers to prioritize the health and safety of their employees, as unsafe practices could lead to accidents with significant human, economic and social losses.
A release by the ministry’s head of press and public relations, Tine-Iulun M.A. stated that the industry demands safe working measures, recognising the numerous risks faced by workers. The goal of the workshop is to ensure that every operation and process in the metal industry becomes accident-free.